Growing up with Pokémon, one of my favorite games for the Nintendo 64 was Pokémon Snap. Like many fans, I was always disappointed that a sequel to Snap never came about for the Wii or even the Gamecube, for instance. Now with the release of Pokémon Sun & Moon, a new feature added to the Pokédex takes me back to a time when I was barely ten-years-old, sitting in my living room and pretending I was going on my own Pokémon safari.
Early on in Sun & Moon, like most Pokémon games, you receive your Pokédex to help catalog and store data on the many Pokémon you meet on your journey to become a master. This time around, with your peppy Rotom Pokédex, the Poké Finder is a brand-new feature which allows you to take pictures of Pokémon in their natural habitats.
Periodically, as you travel through the various landscapes of Alola, you will get a quick notification sound, as well as a purple camera marker on the bottom screen of your 3DS, indicating that a Pokémon is nearby that you can take a picture of. Pressing the R Button brings up your camera, allowing you to take pictures of the nearby Pokémon. This feature also gives you a good idea of what Pokémon is native to that area.
When snapping photos of your discovered Pokémon, Rotom will give you comments in real time, based on the quality of your pictures. Once you are finished, you have the option to “upload” a picture for people to see in a type of social media-esque format. These are really just AI comments, but you do get a score based on the composition of your photo. As with Pokémon Snap, you get more points depending on if your subject Pokémon is centered and looking towards you. Pictures taken from its side or at its back will garner considerably fewer points.
The more points you obtain, the more upgrades for your Poké Finder you will receive, and there are five in total. The majority of these upgrades are enhanced zooming, however, if you manage to achieve version 5, you will obtain the special ability to call Pokémon closer to further increase your chances of getting a perfect shot.
One thing I quickly realized while playing around with the Poke Finder was that, unless you have your game volume turned up, you run a good chance of missing the notification sound indicating that a photo opportunity is available. A small icon does appear on your map, but it is entirely missable. Given the fact that I often play without sound turned on, I am a bit disappointed that I run the risk of missing a chance to take Pokémon pictures, simply because I didn’t catch the notification. Despite this tiny inconvenience, I personally enjoyed the implementation of the Poke Finder as a little tribute to the original Pokémon Snap for the Nintendo 64. Here’s hoping they add similar features to more Pokémon games in the future.
Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon are available for the Nintendo 3DS.